MOTORCYCLING figure Graeme Boyd says his retail business being in liquidation will not affect the international SuperMoto race he is bringing to Newcastle for the fourth time this September.
As the Newcastle Herald reported on Friday, Mr Boyd put the business into liquidation on Monday owing $150,000 to unsecured creditors and unspecified amounts to other creditors including Yamaha, Suzuki, the tax office and a bank.
Concerns had been raised that Mr Boyd’s business difficulties might impact on the SuperMoto, which he first brought to Newcastle in 2015, but he said yesterday that the retail business and his promotional activities were entirely separate and that the SuperMoto was going ahead as planned on the weekend of September 1 and 2.
“We’ve got funding from Destinations NSW, from Newcastle City Council and from its business improvement association, Newcastle Now,” Mr Boyd said.
The 2015 and 2016 SuperMotos were widely viewed as successful promotions but crowds were much smaller last year when roadworks for the inaugural Supercars event forced the motorcycle races from the foreshore to Newcastle Showground.
Mr Boyd said the 2018 event would be “fantastic for Newcastle”, with champion riders from the United States and Asia competing against Australia and the Hunter’s best on a track that was part dirt and part asphalt.
He said the event was live-streamed internationally, attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers.
But if the digital revolution was helping to promote Newcastle internationally, Mr Boyd said it was also a factor in the hard times facing motorcycling retailers.
Online sales sites were increasingly dominant in the second-hand market and Mr Boyd said “importers with online shops are cutting out the dealers”.
“When’s the last time you went to a video store?” Mr Boyd asked, referring to the loss of “bricks and mortar” outlets.
Another industry figure, Brisan Motorcycles and Powersports director Clint Davis, said the industry had declined markedly for the past three years.
Mr Davis said things were very tough for dealers. Brisans had been forced to restructure its business last year, laying off staff and cutting its outlets from three to two. He said sales levels were still falling.
“Most people don’t need a motorcycle: most buy them as a luxury item, and as the cost of housing and power and so on goes up, then you get a definite tightening in discretionary spending,” Mr Davis said.
Official figures show new bike sales fell 9.3 per cent to 104,111 last year, while new car sales rose 0.9 per cent to 1,189,000.